The Game Plan Week 13 – All About the Fantasy Football Playoffs

Football playbook

My home league, the UCFL, is swarming with trade activity ahead of our Friday 3am trade deadline. League mate JBunc started the year 1-5, but with Gordon Gekko tenacity he has traded his way to 5 victories out of the last 6 games. In week 6, ESPN projected him with a 12% chance to make the fantasy football playoffs and now JBunc sits comfortably at 77% odds.  The man never said uncle, made a game plan, and has worked it.

What’s your game plan for week 13 and the fantasy football playoffs?

Week 13 may be an unlucky one for you as 4 teams are on bye: Carolina, Cleveland, Green Bay, and Tennessee. Granted, one is hardpressed to find starters out of that group sans Green Bay, but in a 12-team league with 6 or 7 bench spots, you could be in a pickle. Check out the week 12 Game Plan for some bye week strategery. Also, later in the week, we will publish our week 13 edition of “This Guy or That Guy?” and help you with some of the tough flex spot calls – and tougher this week with the 4 bye teams.

Must win this week or I’m done

Does this describe your chances for the fantasy football playoffs? It does mine. It’s the same as last week in which I pulled out a mercy win. Now, I have to do it again. Sell out to win this week or there is no next week for my fantasy playoff hopes and dreams. So, what’s a good do-or-die game plan?

One, play defense on offense. Try to trade for your opponent’s quarterback’s #1 wide receiver.  If you’re playing against Tom Brady this week, go after Godwin or Evans, as long as you don’t lose on the deal overall. In our ESPN league, a QB passing TD is 4 points, while the WR gets 6. The WR also wins on yardage points by 2.5x. This strategy mitigates the points that Brady posts against you.

Two, sometimes our fantasy playoff fates are not just in our own hands. Other things have to fall our way, such as a divisional rival losing. Maybe that too can be in our hands. Check the squad that your divisional rival faces this week. Is it decimated by the bye week? Maybe you have a quality player that you can trade for his bye week player without the move hurting you. The deal has to be fair, I’m not advocating collusion, just strategery.

Three, don’t sleep on kickers and defenses. These are the boring, ho-hum spots that get overlooked and never asked to the prom. But I promise that league mate, Fink the Stink, won back-to-back championships in 2019 and 2020 because he wasn’t careless about these decisions. This week, the Vikings face the 0-10 Lions, yet the Vikings are only 26.3% rostered in ESPN leagues. Insanity! Go get the Vikings. Next week, the Vikings have the Steelers at home (have you seen Big Ben lately?), and in week 15 the Vikings get another early Christmas present with a matchup against da Bears. As for kickers, follow the 4 golden rules: 1) playing at home, 2) team projected to win, 3) projected high team score, 4) good weather or dome.

Finally, speaking of defenses, attack defenses that give up the most points to offenses. I prefer to look at the last 3-4 games to spot a trend and sometimes you find a surprise. For instance, the highly esteemed, brand name Rams defense has a couple of cracks. Over their last 3 games, the Rams D is ranked 24th against QBs and 28th against WRs. Yielding 18.53 fantasy points to QBs and 35.17 fantasy points to WRs, the Rams defense can be exploited. However, avoid their ground game as the Rams D is 5th against the run. The Rams face the Jacksonville Jaguars this week with an implied game total of 48 and are favored by 13 at home. The Jags need to launch an air attack early and often and Marvin Jones and Laviska Shenault are the likely beneficiaries. If the bye week has you desperate at flex, consider these guys. If not on the waiver wire, they are probably cheap buys. (Data used from NFL Fantasy website).

I hope that our Game Plan this week propels you into the fantasy football playoffs and I’ll check in at some point to report on the fate of The Hail Mary’s. As famous college and pro football coach Lou Holtz said, “The man who complains about the way the ball BOUNCES is likely the one who DROPPED it.”

Let’s not drop the ball this week.



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